Who I’m Writing For

mysideofthemountainI grew up surrounded by books. My parents were wonderful at filling our home with books – and it was a good thing, because I was a quick reader. Books from school, garage sales, the library, you name it, I went through them all.

But in upper elementary school and into middle school, once every couple of months, my dad would take my sister and me to a bookstore, and let us each choose one brand new book (or in my sister’s case, usually a new comic) to take home. (Thank you dad!)

I can still remember how amazing that was, to be able to pick a new book, anything I wanted, and get to take it home with me. I still have most of those ‘special’ books today – there were Babysitter’s Club books, Why the Whales Came, My Side of the Mountain (My all-time favorite childhood book, if I HAVE to pick one. I was ready to move to a mountain and build my own house in a tree.), and a whole slew of L.M. Montgomery books.

When I think about who I’m writing for, I’m pretty sure I have two audiences. The first: me. I’m writing to satisfy myself. To make a story that feels right and a world that I love to be in. After all, I might have to live there for a long time.

The second: I’m writing so that when a kid goes to a bookstore or the library someday, they see my book on the shelf and get to take it home. So that it becomes part of a special collection of memories of their childhood and teenage years. So that if they’re in high school, they can hold on the stories they love and remember where they were and what was going on in their lives when they were reading those books. Sort of like when a song playing on the radio takes you back to right where you were in 10th grade, at a dance, or hanging out at a friend’s house.

The idea that someone in twenty years would still have one of my books on their bookshelf or in their digital collection and be able to point to it and say, “That story was special to me, because…” is such a powerful thing.

What are those special books in your life, the ones that marked you and that you still hold on to?